President Trump was not bluffing when he ordered $60 billion in tariffs on China, in an apparent attempt to balance trade between nations, and he fully intends to impose the extra charge on the imports, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Sunday.
“We are going to proceed with our tariffs. We’re working on that,” Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” in an exclusive interview, while acknowledging the U.S. is also trying to reach a trade deal with China in which the country would reduce tariffs and further open its markets.
“We’re simultaneously having negotiations with the Chinese to see if we can reach an agreement,” he also said. “As the president has said, we want to cut the trade deficit $100 billion over the next year. … I’m cautiously hopeful we reach an agreement, but if not we are proceeding with these tariffs. We are not putting them on hold.”
China has the second biggest economy, after the United States, in the world market.
Mnuchin on Sunday also downplayed stock markets fluctuating sharply since at least early-March when Trump imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
"I think what we are doing is long term good for the econony," he said. "That is free and fair trade."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 700 points Thursday on Trump’s order to impose the tariffs on China for purportedly intellectual property violations and China in turn vowing to impose at least $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. exports.
“There’s a lot of different things impacting the stock market, but I think the most important thing to focus on is the market will go up and down in the short-term, the real important issue is where will it be longer-term. And the market is still up an enormous amount since the since the election,” Mnuchin said.
“I don’t expect to see a big impact on the economy," he added, amid concerns of a trade war. "We’ve been very careful in how we’re doing this and what we’re doing.”